Judge Not Awarding Damages to Plaintiffs in Trial Over Confederate Statues
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Judge Richard Moore is not awarding plaintiffs money in damages in the trial over Charlottesville's attempt to move Confederate statues out of city parks. The judge has said that legal fees will be awarded but it would not be the full amount the plaintiffs' attorneys were asking for.
Friday, September 13, was the final day of the trial over Confederate statues in Charlottesville Circuit Court. Since Wednesday, September 11, attorneys had mostly been arguing over legal fees and who should pay them in a lawsuit against the city.
Plaintiffs first filed their lawsuit back in March 2017, and estimate they will have spent $604,038.33 in legal costs once all is said and done. They were seeking $500 each from when the city "encroached" on their ability to see the statues during the 188 days they were under tarps, however, Judge Moore rejected that argument.
Judge Moore sided with the plaintiffs during an earlier court hearing, saying both of the statues are "war memorials," which protects them under Virginia code from being moved.
The judge did determine Friday that City Council's resolution to remove the Lee statue was null and void, though a similar resolution for the Jackson statue was deemed too vague to undo.
According to an NBC29 source, the city's insurance company currently isn't paying for litigation costs and any potential penalties awarded to the plaintiffs. As a result, money could come directly out of Charlottesville's budget.
Plaintiff Charles Weber, who is also a spokesperson for the group of plaintiffs, said the attorneys fee decision is a big win for them.
"The way the judge worded it he acknowledged the length of time it took to do this. That the statute not only permits attorney fees, but in a case like this actually mandates it," he stated. "So we're expecting a fairly decent amount out of what we asked for."
City attorneys had no comment on the way out of court.
Judge Moore did not give a timeline on his final decision on legal fees, saying he has to read case law on the issue and review billing entries.